Planning a getaway from stress and work? Find new places without having to go looking for them: Swide takes charge with a pocket guide of top 5 places to see in…Portugal.
Coimbra was Portugal's capital during the High Middle Ages and is one of the most important urban centres in Portugal after Lisbon and Porto. There are many archaeological structures that date back to the Roman Era such as the city's aqueduct, as well as monuments from the period when it was the capital (1131 -1255). Its University is one of the oldest in Europe and definitely worth a visit. Make sure you attend a Coimbra fado session (traditional Portuguese music, which began in the 1820s), a genre of fado from Coimbra.
Located in South Portugal, in a region called Alentejo, Evora is a monumental city that ranked number two in the Portuguese most liveable cities survey published by Expresso. Visit the Roman ruins (such as the Templo de Diana) and the Cappella dos Ossos (Bone Chapel), completely decorated with real human bones – yes, quite creepy. The Graca Church and de Cathedral are beautiful, too. Make sure you see also the megalithic complex called Almendres Cromlech. Anyway, the whole historic centre of Evora has been declared a Unesco World Heritage Site so you are not going to get it wrong simply strolling around.
South of Porto and a few kilometres from the Atlantic Ocean, Aveiro is considered the 'Venice of Portugal', since part of the city is carved up with canals, with many bridges, and painted boats (molicerios) that actually look like gondolas dotted along them. The coast has beautiful beaches like São Jacinto, Barra and Costa Nova: having Portugal a temperate climate, it is still wonderful to sunbathe (or wind-surf) in this season. Aveiro has a free-use bicycle service. Just giving your ID to the dedicated employee and you’ll be free to cycle around and discover the beautiful town.
Overlooking the Douro river, Porto has been inhabited since the 4th century as a mercantile city. This is the city where Port, world famous fortified wine was created: produced in the Douro Valley, in the 13th century it was transported to Porto by boat until in the 18th century when the production passed to English vintners who were established in Porto. Go to Ribera de Gaia where you will find port wine cellars to tour and taste from. Visit also the São Francisco church. To have a taste of the real side of the city, visit the Mercado do Bolhão, a traditional market. If you like photography, head to Centro Português de Fotografia.
Viana do Castelo
The city is the definitely one of the most beautiful in Portugal. Classified as the 'Mecca of Architecture' by Wallpaper Magazine, the city is famed for its monuments. Visit de Basilica of Santa Luzia, the Naval Museum, the Cathedral, the Church of St. Domingos. The view from the Lima river is crazy beautiful and the pilgrimage of Nossa Senhora da Agonia is well worth a visit, but don't forget the beaches: most of them are among the cleanest water you can swim in in Europe.
Written by Elisa della Barba